No Contact With Israeli Diplomats, Aung San Suu Kyi Complains

In an exclusive interview with Ha'aretz last week, Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma's democracy movement who was released from house arrest by the military regime on May 7, complained that she had had no contact with Israeli diplomats, despite the presence of an Israeli embassy in Rangoon.

In an exclusive interview with Ha'aretz last week, Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Burma's democracy movement who was released from house arrest by the military regime on May 7, complained that she had had no contact with Israeli diplomats, despite the presence of an Israeli embassy in Rangoon. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate said that she "would welcome" such contact.

Many other Western embassies are in continuous touch with Suu Kyi, considered by most Burmese to be their legitimate political leader.

Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won democratic elections by a landslide in 1990, but the military regime refused to recognize the election results, imprisoning nearly all the elected MKs in prison and placing Suu Kyi under house arrest.

Israel Foreign Ministry sources said in response that "The lady (Aung San Suu Kyi) was just released a few months ago. We are watching the process of internal dialogue from up close, we support the democratization process, and are trying to determine what our next step should be. Besides Europe and America, most of the other countries in the world are in the same position vis a vis Burma that we are. I can't say that we are going to make contact with Aung San Suu Kyi immediately, but we certainly won't be the last country to do so."

Suu Kyi told Ha'aretz that China, Burma's northern neighbor and the regime's main economic and military support, had also so far made no effort to contact her. She said that her hoped-for dialogue with the generals who are now running Burma had not yet begun, that she was willing to compromise on some points, and that she did not want to lead her country down a path of retribution and revenge, despite the crimes committed by the regime.

On the subject of Israel and the Palestinians, Suu Kyi said that she found the situation "terribly, terribly sad. How can people hate so much?" She remarked that her party, the NLD, was committed to non-violence in their struggle for democracy, even if taking this path will take longer.

The interview took place in the national headquarters of the NLD in Rangoon (called Yangon by the military regime).